But as Keystone continues to dominate the headlines, the greens and labor are currently embroiled in another contentious – and equally as heated – confrontation in the forestry industry. At present the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) is considering revisions to its LEED rating tool, a policy that is currently rigged in favor of the Greenpeace-backed Forest Stewardship Council. Although the overall quality and durability of FSC-endorsed products has been widely criticized by leading architects and furniture manufacturers both and in US and internationally, the environmentalist movement has been able to prevent the USGBC from revising its LEED scheme—at great cost to taxpayers nonetheless. However, moves are afoot to revise LEED to include wood certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), one of FSC’s competing certifiers.
Late last year Maine’s Governor Paul LePage stated that he would no longer allow FSC-certified wood to maintain its monopoly over state buildings and infrastructure, a move that boosted the state’s small landholders who could not afford the burdensome regulatory costs to receive FSC certification. But unions, such as the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), have vocally supported revisions to LEED standards, revisions that would allow SFI and other certifiers to have a more level playing field. In fact, the fissure between the greens and labor has become so severe that complaints have been filed to the Federal Trade Commission, accusing FSC and USGBC of operating “in tandem to disadvantage wood products certified by SFI and other certification systems.” FSC and USGBC have clearly been complicit in the restriction of trade and competition both within the US and from Emerging Markets.
The past few years under President Obama have hardly been a golden era for job creators. The president’s blind faith in government action has been entirely at odds with the free market principles that lead to foster innovation and prosperity. But even when business and labor unions can find solid grounds for collaboration on matters such as Keystone and revising LEED ratings, the green movement still represents a perennial threat to the integrity and economic well-being of the country. A minority in the labor union movement may well still believe that the greens are their allies. But try getting new members when these allies are endeavoring to destroy jobs at every conceivable opportunity.
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